Staycations boost high street footfall

Visits to UK shops rose in August to the highest level since the first COVID-19 lockdown, boosted by staycations and workers returning to offices, according to new data.

Total UK footfall rose 10 per cent from July after three months at largely unchanged levels and reached the highest reading since the start of the pandemic.

However, the British Retail Consortium and Sensormatic Solutions reported that August footfall was still down 18 per cent compared with the same month in 2019, suggesting long-term challenges to physical stores.

Against August 2019, footfall on high streets declined by nearly 25 per cent, retail parks saw a decrease of 1.6 per cent and shopping centre footfall declined by nearly 33 per cent.

The North West of England saw the shallowest decline, while London experienced the biggest drop in footfall figures.

Helen Dickinson, BRC Chief Executive, said that “following months of little improvement, August footfall was a tentative step in the right direction”.

While Andy Sumpter, Retail Consultant at Sensormatic, added: “August footfall was bolstered by staycationer shopper traffic and the back-to-school boost. In every UK city we track showed improved shopper counts, as vaccine confidence won out against the fears and spread of the Delta variant.”